Robert F. Kennedy Jr has blasted the “bewildering” decision to hand Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a humanitarian award by his father’s charity – but believes it is a “step up” from two years ago.
The 68-year-old spoke ahead of the the Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York City where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will receive the prestigious honour on behalf of his legendary family on December 6.
Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, are set to be honoured alongside the likes of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and Bill Russell, the NBA legend and civil rights activist.
Announcing the award, RFK’s daughter Kerry, president of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organisation, said the Sussexes “embody the type of moral courage that my father once called the ‘one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.’”
However RFK Jr was less glowing in his appraisal of the decision, telling Dailymail.com: “It’s a bewildering choice but still an encouraging step up from 2020.”
RFK Jr is not involved in selecting the laureates and has a track record of criticising them. In 2020, he was vocal in his criticism of Dr Fauci, who was among the winners of the awards that year alongside Dolores Huerta, Colin Kaepernick, Dan Schulman and Dan Springer.
The decision to award Meghan and Harry the prize also confused Kennedy historian Professor David Nasaw, who penned the Pulitzer Prize-nominated book ‘The Patriarch’ about Joseph P Kennedy, RFK and his brother JFK’s father.
He told the Mail on Sunday: “I find it somewhere between sublimely ridiculous and blatantly ludicrous. It’s absurd.
“If you look at the people who have been awarded the Robert Kennedy prize in the past – Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Bishop Desmond Tutu – and then you have to ask what are Harry and Meghan doing here?
“What in God’s name have they done to merit this? What percentage of Harry and Meghan’s wealth is going to worthy causes?”
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The aim of the awards is to honour “exemplary leaders across government, business, advocacy”.
In her full statement about Harry and Meghan, Ms Kennedy said: “When The Duke and Duchess accepted our award laureate invitation back in March, we were thrilled.
“The couple has always stood out for their willingness to speak up and change the narrative on racial justice and mental health around the world.
“They embody the type of moral courage that my father once called the ‘one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.’”
Joe Kennedy was ambassador to the UK from 1938 meaning the Royal Family and Kennedy bloodlines have a long history.
The connections are twofold in December as Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, both 40, will attend the Earthshot Prize at an awards ceremony in Boston.
The event sees a climate prize of £1 million handed out to five winners and will be hosted in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
Robert F Kennedy, known as RFK or his nickname Bobby, was a lawyer and politician who served as the 64th United States Attorney General from January 1961 to September 1964. In January 1965, he became US Senator for New York but was assassinated in June 1968.